It’s Civil War Week! The annual battle between the Oregon State Beavers and the Oregon Ducks is the 5th oldest rivalry in the FBS. Saturday’s war will be the 120th. game in the rivalry. The Beavers are coming off, arguably their most impressive performance of the season soundly defeating the Arizona Wildcats 42-17. The Oregon Ducks are coming off an impressive performance, upsetting the 12th ranked Utah Utes on the road 30-28. This will be the first Civil War game since 1991 that both teams enter the game with losing records (both teams ended the season with losing records in 1993, yet Oregon entered the 1993 Civil War game 5-5 but lost to the Beavers 15-12). Although, both teams lack postseason aspirations, the game is important for different reasons.
This is arguably the biggest game for Oregon State up to this point of the Gary Andersen Era. A victory over the Ducks would be a gigantic step in the right direction. It would instill confidence to a program that desperately needs to learn how to win big games. In addition, a victory over the Ducks would bring extravagant momentum in recruiting. Beaver Nation is hungry for a win over their rivals down south. The Beavers would love to have positive momentum going into the offseason
Here’s what the Beavers need to work on against their in-state rivals.
Oregon State improved on reducing penalties vs Arizona (5 penalties, 49 yards) compared to their previous 3 games. When the Beavers played Washington State, Stanford, and UCLA, they had over 100 yards of penalty yardage. In Rivalry Games, players can be chippy. The officials are likely to throw more flags in rivalry games in order to control the chaos. The Beavers need to keep their emotions in check and focus on executing their game plan. Oregon State cannot afford senseless penalties against the talented Oregon Ducks. If the Beavers want to win their first Civil War since 2007, they need to stay disciplined and focused.
Make Plays that Fire Up the Crowd
The Beavers will have the backing of a sea of orange inside Reser Stadium. Overall, the Beavers have played better in Corvallis than on the road. Oregon State is 3-3 in Corvallis. Rivalry games are remembered for the big plays. RB Ryan Nall is the type of player that is capable of big plays, which is not unfamiliar to the bruising Sophomore running back. In the 2015 Civil War, Nall made a spectacular 66 yard touchdown run in Autzen Stadium. Victor Bolden is a playmaker for the Beavs, he has made plays in past Civil Wars for the Beavers. Marcus McMaryion played his best game as a Beaver last week against Arizona. Although, big plays are needed to fire up the team, it’s also important to sustain drives and execute the game plan.
Big Plays that fire up the crowd can also come from the Defense. Oregon State has been able to force turnovers as of late. The Beaver Defense will have their hands full with Freshman sensation QB Justin Hebert. RB’s Royce Freeman and Tony Brooks-James are two talented Running Backs. In addition, excellent receivers Darren Carrington and Charles Nelson will challenge the Beaver secondary, and TE’s Pharaoh Brown and Johnny Mundt are good players. If the Beaver Defense can make plays against this strong Oregon Offense, the Beaver crowd will erupt in euphoria.
Put it All on the Line
This is the Oregon State’s championship game, period. Throw all the history and the records out the window. The Beavers need to forget that they have lost 8 games in a row against the Ducks. Additionally, the Beavers shouldn’t think of themselves as a 3 win team. The Beavers have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
For the Beavers, their isn’t an extra game in 2016 (Nooooo!). This will be the last game the Beavers will play until September 2nd, 2017 against Portland State. There’s plenty of time to recover until that game. The Beavers need to play every single play as if it’s their last. A young man on the Oregon State roster by the name of Seth Collins would approach it that way. Unfortunately, Seth is unable to play in the Civil War. However, the Beavers can follow Seth’s example by playing with fire and passion on Saturday. After watching this team play with determination and passion all season, Beaver Nation should believe that their team is going to play their hearts out for them, and leave it all on the field Saturday.